Published on Development Impact

Weekly links April 14: lectures, behavioral degrees of freedom, help evaluate the IFC, lottery wins are good, and more…

This page in:

·       Impact evaluation Job opportunity: The IFC is looking to hire a senior economist for its Development Impact Measurement Department to “make major contributions to the development and implementation of an impact evaluation program covering selected IFC investment and advisory projects”. Duties include “Conduct ex-post empirical evaluations on specific types of IFC investments and platforms to inform future investment design, including by working with IFC clients to conduct randomized controlled trials (RCT) on development outcomes and/or implement synthetic control methods to identify highest impact interventions”. There is also a second position for work on climate and sustainability.

·       Andrew Gelman has a nice blog post titled the behavioral economists’ researcher degree of freedom which points out an interesting way of classifying two seemingly contradictory types of what he terms “pop-microeconomics”:

“1. People are rational and respond to incentives. Behavior that looks irrational is actually completely rational once you think like an economist.

2. People are irrational and they need economists, with their open minds, to show them how to be rational and efficient.

Argument 1 is associated with “why do they do that?” sorts of puzzles. Why do they charge so much for candy at the movie theater, why are airline ticket prices such a mess, why are people drug addicts, etc. The usual answer is that there’s some rational reason for what seems like silly or self-destructive behavior.

Argument 2 is associated with “we can do better” claims such as why we should fire 80% of public-school teachers or Moneyball-style stories about how some clever entrepreneur has made a zillion dollars by exploiting some inefficiency in the market.

The trick is knowing whether you’re gonna get 1 or 2 above. They’re complete opposites!”

·       Peter Hull’s second year PhD course applied econometrics lecture slides are up on his webpage and a nice overview of modern approaches to classic topics

·       Esther Duflo and Ben Olken have put up their 2021 MIT PhD development course online with their lecture videos, slides, readings, assignments and exams.

·       New Finance journal: the American Finance Association is launching a new association journal, the Journal of Finance: Insights and Perspectives. (Via Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham’s new substack “A causal affair”). The second issue in June every year is dedicated to Perspectives, while the other issues contain Insights articles.

·       Tim Harford in the FT on the evidence as to whether winning the lottery ruins your life – despite the stories you here, typically no, people who win spend more time socializing with their friends, don’t go bankrupt often, and the majority keep working in their current jobs – and winners of larger prizes are more satisfied with their lives (at least in Sweden).

·       I enjoyed this Scott Cunningham podcast discussion with Jon Roth and in particular the discussion of the (re?)emergence of applied econometrics as a field, and how to define yourself on the job market when you fall between fields.

·       On the Devpolicy blog, numbers on how many Pacific Island workers have participated in New Zealand’s seasonal worker program over the past 15 years: “In Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga, more than 20% of their men aged 20-49 years have been RSE workers at some point since 2007. In the case of Tonga, over 35% of Tonga’s male population (17,999) aged 20-49 years has participated in the RSE scheme”

·       Journal special issue call for papers: S Anukriti is guest editing a special issue of the Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy on gender and religion-based disparities in South Asia with Shankha Chakraborty and Joydeep Bhattacharya. They are seeking papers from economics and allied disciplines that do one or more of the following: document and analyze gender and religion-based heterogeneities, study their consequences for the labor market, health, education, and other socioeconomic outcomes, and critically examine policy actions aimed at reducing said disparities. Studies of caste-based heterogeneity lie within the scope so long as they connect to gender or religion. Deadline for submissions is Jan 15, 2024.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000